Department of Pediatrics, Al-Kindy College of Medicine, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, 00964, Iraq. Department of Pharmacology, Al-Kindy College of Medicine, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, 00964, Iraq.
Background: Although iron chelation therapies have been available for many years for thalassemia intermedia patients, iron accumulation remains the major cause of death. Therefore, the need for additional chelation options is in demand. This randomized controlled study aimed to understand the effects of green tea on iron balance in thalassemia intermedia patients. Methods: Using a random selection method, 141 thalassemia
intermedia patients were initially screened for inclusion in this trial; only 68 patients included after applying exclusion criteria. Two equal groups were generated (n=34/group): green tea (three cups/day after meals) + usual treatment (deferasirox iron chelator and on demand blood transfusion); and control (only usual treatment). The study lasted for a period of 12 months. Patients failing to comply to the trial methodology were excluded, leaving a final total of 29 patients in the green tea group and 28 patients in the control group. Liver iron concentration, and serum ferritin were assessed at baseline and 12 months, while hemoglobin levels were assessed monthly. Results: At baseline, both groups were matched regarding general demographics. At 12 months, the net drop of liver iron concentration in the green tea group (7.3 mg Fe/g dry weight) was significantly higher than the control group (4.6 mg Fe/g dry weight) (p<0.05). This was also seen with serum ferritin; net reduction in green tea and control groups were 1289 ng/ml and 871 ng/ml, respectively (p<0.05). Hemoglobin levels were slightly higher in the green tea group compared with the control group, but this was not significant. Conclusions: Regular green tea consumption had a significant capability to improve iron deposition in thalassemia intermedia patients who already undergo deferesirox iron chelation therapy. Trial registration: UMIN-CTR Clinical Trials Registry, UMIN000040841 (retrospectively registered June 21, 2020).